Women urged to get their skates on and try sport

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

THEY are the only Welsh women’s ice hockey team com­pet­ing in the Bri­tish leagues – with some mem­bers trav­el­ling more than 100 miles just to train.

And now the Cardiff Comets are en­cour­ag­ing more women to join them on the ice in the sport de­scribed by one of the play­ers as “stand­ing on a knife edge on the most nat­u­rally slip­pery sur­face in the world”.

The girls and women, who range in age from six to 50, train at Cardiff’s Ice Arena Wales as part of what is a very var­ied team.

Speak­ing about tak­ing up the sport, proud Comet Sam Zala, 49, said: “At the age of six, 20 or 40 years old we start by learn­ing to stand, walk, slide, turn and even­tu­ally to stop. “Then we do it all again back­wards. “We mostly fall but we get up and keep do­ing it over and over again un­til we can stand and move and get faster and faster.

“We put on kit that stops us get­ting hurt when we fall – a kit that weighs one-and-a-half stone, but it’s a chal­lenge just to learn how to dress.”

Sam said some mem­bers travel more than 100 miles just to train, and a fur­ther 400 miles more to take part in away games.

All in all they make up one of 28 women’s teams in the UK.

Sam added: “Ev­ery­one sup­ports each other – on and off the ice.

“You make friends in this unique en­vi­ron­ment like no other, and have mo­ments you will only ever ex­pe­ri­ence when you are part of a team.

“No one will ever laugh at you – only with you.

“It’s so hard, it takes a month to learn how to put that kit on and from time to time you still get that wrong.

“But you learn, you go faster, turn quicker and start stray­ing ice shav­ings like the fast skaters, and it makes you feel awe­some.”

The Comets are now try­ing to en­cour­age more girls and women to get their skates on.

Sam said all you need is the guts to show up to train­ing ses­sions, which take place every Wed­nes­day from 7.30pm at Ice Arena Wales.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Comets, visit the Face­book page at www.face­book.com/Comet­sHockey

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